Meeting Protocol and Rules

In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.

-- Georg Cantor

Rules' Purpose:

  • Create a quality experience for our regular members and those visitors that might become regulars.

  • Please complain to the group facilitator during the actual meeting if you don't think the rules work well or could be improved, or are not being enforced properly.

Summary of Meeting Protocol - definitely read this:

Most important rule - Questions Only:

    • You never ask someone (or the group as a whole) if they want to hear your lecture or informational talk:

          • that you are "champing at the bit" to:

                  • give them,

                  • or the group,

          • that you think they may not know,

          • that you think they need to know,

          • that you think they care about, even in the least.

  1. All discussion is based on a member asking a question.

  2. If a person wants a clarification or elaboration of some statement, they need to ask it themselves.

  3. We don't talk about other programming languages within a language specific group.

          • So it's C++ only, in our C++ language group (no different language questions, except mention by passing reference only).

  4. Questions are prioritized first for people who have read the recommended resources already, and their question is about them.

  5. Questions entered on the event invitation (probably meetup), have priority over questions asked during the meeting. questions have lowest priority. In some cases, we may vote on the meeting or gitter questions to select their ordering.

  6. Can't ask two questions in a row without giving others a change to ask one.

Stay Focused Rule

When a primary question is being answered, all peripheral questions are addressed to the facilitator via our chat tool (except simple clarification; "don't understand what you just said", or auditory; "can't hear you", requests).

The facilitator evaluates the question's clarity and relevance to the current question being discussed. The question is either directed to the mentor or saved for later.

The reason for the rule is that our kind mentors are too willing to help! We can get significantly off-track from the original question, perhaps then to run out of time - the original question never gets completed - everyone is confused and frustrated. We will discuss this potential rule during the next meeting.

No Side Talk Rule

We don't have side conversations or have multiple conversations as the same time. There is one topic and one person speaking at the same time for the whole group. You can type, or text, or listen to (videos if you have headphone) but don't start a verbal conversation with your neighbor. Instead, bring up what you want to talk about with the whole group once the current topic is finished.

No Debugging You Code Rule

We don't present our code and ask what is wrong with it. Debugging is not something that suits our format. After the meeting or on our gitter group, you might be able to find someone to look at the code.

The Break is the Time to Take a Break

We don't ask technical questions during break, especially not from the mentors. Break is for resting our learning minds, the facilitator's and especially our valued mentors' brains.

Online Noiselessness Rule

If you are using a computer to attend a meeting, be sure you are not broadcasting spurious noise. Mute your microphone or make sure you are in a very quiet room, not tapping your fingers, shuffling paper, clicking a pen, eating, etc.. For more details see: Chat, Networking & Communication Resources

During Meetings - Put Your Questions/Answers on

When you mention a website during a meeting, please put the link in the "lobby" on gitter right away, so people can look at the page while you are talking.

Between Meetings - Put Your Questions/Answers on

CppMSG encourages questions and answers on C++ be discussed publicly in one of the many "rooms" on gitter. We discourage trying to get help from our mentors by sending them private messages. The reason is to value our mentor's time and reduce repetition and to build an archive of answers that is publicly available.

READ THIS TOO! - a fuller explanation of what goes on at a meeting.

We emphasize questions and answers within our lively interactive round-table discussion. They're discussed in the context of a live programming demonstration with is screen shared and audio. Anyone can participate or simply listen.

Part 0 - Setup and Networking

Part 1 - Organized Q&A and Round-table Discussion (1 hour 15 minutes

1.a) Ice-Breaker - We will go round the table/room and optionally give everyone a chance to ask a question, or tell why they attended, or introduce themselves.

1.b) Brief Administrative Review: We spend a few minutes sharing comments and critique of how the prior class went and how to improve it.

1.c) Extensive Questions and Answers: Q&A and round-table discussion focused on the event topic (as noted in the title above). It is helpful but not required to have read the recommended reading before attending. Everyone is welcome, don't hesitate to attend! Even if you have not read the suggested material, or attended prior meetings, you are welcome and we will accommodate beginner C++ questions.

1.d) Brief Announcements: Calls for jobs, events, news, and points of interest from the all programmers present (and by businesses/group sponsors by prior arrangement only).

1.e) Inspirational Stories of Members: Share your story about your recent success. This may encourage others to make progress also.

Part 2 Break - 5 minutes.

/* Note: Due to lack of mentors, currently Part 2 is also Q&A.

Part 3 - Lab, Personal Projects, and Individual Mentoring (45 minutes)

2.a) Individual or small groups practice coding on their computers. Projects can consist of anything; student's projects, IDE, development environment and library setup. Also, mentors offer ***individualized help*** for students with any C++ questions including topics outside of those covered that day.


Part 3 - Meet at Coffee Shop

3.a) Depending on interest, we may meet at a local coffee shop for free-form discussion. Yes, we sometimes even talk in the parking lot after the local coffee shop closes.

Young People: All programmers are welcome, however if you are under 18 years of age, you will need to be accompanied at ALL times by your parent or legal guardian. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Who should attend? - Are you a solid programmer (some language) who wants to expand your horizons.

Mentors Needed! - Our expert volunteer mentors benefit from teaching, as well as hearing and learning alternative approaches from their fellow mentor's views, and the questions asked by the learners (students) during a session.

Group Culture and Meeting Facilitation -

We discuss deeply technical specifics regarding our topic. Introductory and advanced questions and answers are interleaved with the goal of everyone getting some benefit moment to moment. All questions are treated with respect. All answers/replies/comments and asides are considered, challenged, and supplemented by everyone in the group. We are highly interactive and we sit around a huge table to facilitate quality communication. No one is required to speak, but we hope you will have something to add when you are comfortable doing so. The moderator of the group is very proactive in keeping the discussion understandable, focused, on topic and moving forward, as well as creating space for people to speak and express their technical ideas. We aim for highly productive, highly interactive learning. Generally, Grant is the moderator and Alan is the primary mentor.

One thing that makes us truly different is that attendees can publicly challenge and or criticize Grant and Alan during the course of the meeting. If you think something is not being explained well, you can't read someone's handwriting, someone is going too fast, or the meeting is getting off track, you can say something. Grant and Alan will not be crushed, nor will we retaliate with anger, nor with passive aggressive behaviors, nor retribution. We work to facilitate excellent, efficient, flexible and responsive events and part of this means inviting audience feedback even when it is not 'ego positive' for us. However this does not mean that you can aggressively question other attendees, organizers or mentors, since they have not generally agreed to be public criticized.

NOTE: No food will be served, please eat before you arrive.

Also you can join: (focused on Mountains book) (focused on Birds book)

All sessions are, or may be, recorded in video and audio. Recordings are not available at this time. These recordings may, or may not, be posted on the internet in the future. Generally, a simple web cam is pointed at the white board and only the presenters are visible. However attendee questions and comments can be heard. Your attendance constitutes your acceptance of being recorded.

Keywords: CppMSG, Cpp, Cplusplus